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31.03.2020

UK Consumer Confidence decreases by two points to - 9 for March 2020

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK says: “Against the threat of a dramatic slowdown in the UK economy due to the spread of Covid-19, the Consumer Confidence Barometer has weakened by two points this month.  Importantly, this research was carried out during the first two-weeks of March, when the coronavirus was headline news but not impacting day-to-day lives of people across all UK nations to the degree we see today.

"After a run of increasingly positive numbers since last December, we’re now seeing very clear disruption. There’s a six-point drop in perceptions of the economy in the coming year, although the view on the next 12 months for personal finances has recorded a softer decrease of three points. The steep eight-point fall in the Major Purchase Index is worrying news for retailers across the land.

"While we have a long way to drop before we match the devastating numbers seen in July 2008, when the Overall Index Score crashed to -39 points, we are likely to suffer further deterioration now that we are in  lock-down in Britain."

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – March 2020

The Overall Index Score in March 2020 is -9. One measure increased, three measures decreased, and one measure remained the same this month.

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has increased by three points this month to +2; this is two points higher than March 2019.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased to +3 this month; this is one point higher than March 2019.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months remains the same this month at -23; this is ten points higher than in March 2019.

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have decreased six points to -27; this is nine points higher than March 2019.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index decreased eight points in March to -2; this is three points lower than it was in March 2019.

Savings Index

The Savings Index decreased ten points this month to +10; this is ten points lower than at this time last year.

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - index table for March 2020

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - index trend line for last 12 months, up to March 2020

About the survey

  • The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK on behalf of the EU, with similar surveys being conducted in each European country. In producing its own reports on the whole of Europe, the EU applies a seasonal adjustment to the data, to smooth out any changes that are functions, at least in part, of the time of year.
  • Historically, the UK data have not been seasonally adjusted in this way, and to maintain comparability, GfK continues not to apply this adjustment. This can lead to situations where the EU figures show different movements in a particular month from those produced by GfK. Individual months may be affected, but the long-term trend is not.
  • This month’s survey was conducted among a sample of 2,000 individuals aged 16+ on behalf of the European Commission.
  • Quotas are imposed on age, sex, region and social class to ensure the final sample is representative of the UK population.
  • Interviewing was carried out during 2nd – 13th March 2020.
  • The figures contained within the Consumer Confidence Barometer have an estimated margin of error of +/-2%.
  • The Overall Index Score is calculated using underlying data that runs to two decimal points.
  • Results for the Consumer Confidence Barometer are normally available on the last working day of each month at 00.01am (unless the final working day of a month is a Monday, in which case the results are published on the Friday preceding the final working day). The release date for April is Thursday 30th April 2020.
    • Any published material requires a reference to both GfK and the European Commission e.g. ‘Research carried out by GfK on behalf of the European Commission’.
    • This study has been running since 1974. Back data is available from 2006.
    • The table below provides an overview of the questions asked to obtain the individual index measures:


  • Personal Financial Situation

    (Q1/Q2)

    This index is based on the following questions to consumers: ‘How has the financial situation of your household changed over the last 12 months?’

    ‘How do you expect the financial position of your household to change over the next 12 months?’ (a lot better – a little better – stay(ed) the same – a little worse – a lot worse)

    General Economic Situation

    (Q3/Q4)

    This index is based on the following questions to consumers: ‘How do you think the general economic situation in this country has changed over the last 12 months?’

    ‘How do you expect the general economic situation in this country to develop over the next 12 months?’

    (a lot better – a little better – stay(ed) the same – a little worse - a lot worse)

    Major Purchase Index

    (Q8)

    This index is based on the following question to consumers: ‘In view of the general economic situation, do you think now is the right time for people to make major purchases such as furniture or electrical goods?’

    (right time – neither right nor wrong time – wrong time)

    Savings

    Index

    (Q10)

    This index is based on the following question to consumers: ‘In view of the general economic situation do you think now is?’ (a very good time to save – a fairly good time to save – not a good time to save – a very bad time to save)

    (Commented on but not included in the Index Score)

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